County football titles are on the line this weekend. Carey's Seahawks and Sachem North's Flaming Arrows have been to the late stages of the postseason many times only to be turned back in bitter disappointment time and again by Garden City and Floyd, respectively.
Those teams meet again this weekend. No. 2 Garden City (9-1) plays top-seeded Carey (10-0), Friday at Hofstra University at 7 p.m. And No. 4 Floyd (8-2) meets No. 3 Sachem North (8-2) at Stony Brook University at noon on Sunday.
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Can Carey or Sachem North finally win the big one?
Carey hasn't won a Nassau title since 1978 and the Seahawks last final appearance in 2010 ended in a loss to Garden City. In fact, Carey has been eliminated from the playoffs the past four years by Garden City. The Seahawks have an impressive 39-12 record in the past five years but have fallen to the Trojans in seven of nine contests.
Carey quarterback Ray Catapano has thrown for a Long Island-leading 32 touchdowns, 1,907 yards and two interceptions. The Seahawks offense averages 41 points per game and they hammered Garden City 28-0 in the first meeting. Garden City has won four straight conference titles and quarterback Brett Stewart is one of the best. The Trojans have been to the conference final 28 times, including 24 under coach Tom Flatley.
Sachem North also faces its traditional nemesis. Floyd has defeated Sachem North in the playoffs for four straight years, 2009-2012, including three championship games. The Colonials are the four-time defending Suffolk I champion and the two-time defending Class I winners.
Floyd has been in the final 11 of the past 13 years, where they've won nine titles. The Colonials are peaking at the right time, winners of six in a row, including last week's 28-14 victory over previously undefeated Commack. Defensive back Billy Kaastra had two interceptions against Commack and leads a Colonials defense that will have to slow down the Sachem North running game led by halfback Malik Pierre, who has 1,306 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Floyd has beaten Sachem North in six straight games, including 42-14 this season.
Suffolk Division II final, (3) East Islip (8-2) vs. (1) Riverhead (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Stony Brook University
Don't expect the same high-scoring affair these teams played on Sept. 21, when East Islip prevailed, 50-35, to hand the Blue Waves their lone loss. Riverhead halfback Jeremiah Cheatom will be even quicker on turf. The breakaway scoring threat has 18 touchdowns and 1,655 yards rushing, including last week's 80-yarder that clinched the win over Newfield. Riverhead is the defending champ and in the final for the fourth time in 10 years (2003-2013). East Islip is in the final for the sixth time in the last eight years (2006-2013), and the 18th time overall. The Redmen like to control the clock with an athletic O-line led by Bobby Heyward, Sean Sconone and Connor McDaniel.
Nassau Conference I final, (3) Massapequa (8-2) vs. (1) Farmingdale (10-0), Saturday, 10:30 a.m. at Hofstra University
Farmingdale has the highest scoring offense in the conference, averaging 40.6 points per game with quarterback Vinny Quinn and halfback Curtis Jenkins, who has 21 touchdowns. The Dalers are the defending Nassau champions, and are in the county final for the 25th time, where they've won 14 titles. Farmingdale beat Massapequa, 33-8, on Oct. 5. The Chiefs will need a big game from quarterback Matt Caracappa and Nick Capuana against a Dalers defense that is the stingiest in the conference.
Chaminade is the defending CHSFL Class AAA champion and led by athletic quarterback Sean Cerrone, halfback Rob Speranza and big target tight end Jack Graffagnino. The Flyers were beaten soundly by St. Anthony's, 38-10, during the season as Friars junior halfback Jordan Gowins rushed for 185 yards and two scores. St. Anthony's is playing for the Class AAA title for the 15th consecutive year (1999-2013). The Flyers edged St. Anthony's 17-16 on a last-minute field goal in last year's final for their first title since 1998.